5 Polish Vodkas You Have To Try

Poles have been producing and drinking vodka since the early Middle Ages, distilling their skill into some of the best vodka blends available in the world, many of which date back centuries. The most highly regarded clear Polish vodka brands must be Belvedere, Chopin, Luksusowa, Ostoya, Pan Tadeusz and Wyborowa, all of which you’ll find in any alcohol shop.

While clear vodkas are generally reserved for giving away at weddings and mixing in cocktails, the real fun is in sampling Poland’s flavoured vodkas and nalewki – a more general term applied to a large range of Polish liqueurs and aged tinctures made from vodka or neutral spirits and fruits, herbs and spices. Vodka shot & snack bars like Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa (Warsaw & Kraków), Setka (Wroclaw & Warsaw), Ambasada Śledzia (Kraków & Katowice), are great places to try them. For a more refined experience and to sip a bit of the history of the nectar try Goldwasser Restaurant (Gdansk), and in Warsaw: Elixir by Dom Wódki, the Vodka Museum and the Polish Vodka Museum in Praga Koneser Centre (Praga District).

Here are just some of the notable varieties you can find at the bar or shop:

Wiśniówka – cherry vodka 
Cytrynówka – lemon vodka 
Pigwówka – quince vodka 
Orzechówka – walnut vodka 
Piołunówka – wormwood liquor 
Wódka figowa – fig vodka 
Wódka śliwkowa – plum vodka 
Wódka gruszkowa – pear vodka



These are our top 5 Polish vodkas

1. ŻOŁĄDKOWA GORZKA 

Due to its very name, which translates to something like ‘Bitter Stomach Vodka,’ Żołądkowa Gorzka gives even the most infirm of health an excuse to drink under the guise of its medicinal properties. Though it comes in a variety of flavours, the original orange label (‘tradycyny’) is an aged, amber-coloured liquor flavoured with herbs and spices, Żołądkowa has a unique aroma and sweet spiced taste unlike anything you’re likely to have tried before. Incredibly palatable, we prefer it on ice. 

2. ŻUBRÓWKA 

One of Poland’s most popular overseas vodka exports, Żubrówka – also known as Bison Grass Vodka – has been produced in Eastern Poland since the 16th century. Flavoured with a type of grass specific to the primeval Białowieża Forest (a blade of which appears in each bottle), Żubrówka is faint yellow in colour, with a mild fragrance of mown hay and a subtle taste which has been described as ‘floral’ or having traces of almond or vanilla. Delightfully smooth as it is on its own, Żubrówka is most commonly combined with apple juice – a refreshing concoction called a ‘tatanka’ or ‘szarlotka’ depending where you are. 

3. KRUPNIK 

Popular in Poland and Lithuania, Krupnik is a sweet liquor made from honey and a multitude of herbs. Buy a bottle for Mum – drinking booze doesn’t get any easier than this. In winter, hot krupnik is a popular personal defroster with hot water, lemon and mulling spices added. 

4. MIÓD PITNY 

Mead, or ‘drinkable honey,’ preceded beer’s arrival in Poland and has remained a favourite since the Middle Ages. Since 2008, Polish meads have been protected under EU law as a traditional regional specialty. Distilled from honey, the drink is extremely easy to consume and comes in four strengths with Połtorak being the strongest (15-18%). 

5. WATRA (HIGHLANDER TEA)

We won’t tell much about this one since its name says a lot already. If you manage to find this in Poland, make sure you take a bottle home.

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